Stem Cells Research: Maternal Stem Cells and Cord Blood Banking
Advances in human stem cell research have enabled scientists to explore new forms of stem cell therapy. As such, umbilical cord blood is joined by other types of stem cell treatments as one potential for curing disease. One recent form of stem cell disease therapy is maternal stem cells; but what exactly are maternal stem cells and how can they be used in the treatment of various illnesses?
What Are Maternal Stem Cells?
Maternal stem cells are a form of stem cell that have been recently isolated by experts; this adult stem cell has the potential to treat a wide range of diseases. They are maternal in origin, meaning that they are genetically matched with the mother.
Maternal placental stem cells (MDSC) - as they are formally known - are taken from the discarded placenta immediately after childbirth. Like stem cells that are collected from cord blood, there is no risk to either mom or baby during this procedure.
What are the Potential Health Benefits Linked with Maternal Stem Cells?
While maternal stem cells have not as of yet been used in human therapies, they are believed to be an alternative to embryonic stem cells in the development of human cellular therapies, particularly for regenerative medicine associated with the donor (mother).
In the laboratory, MDSCs have successfully differentiated into many different types of cells, including bone, neural and fat cells, indicating that they could provide treatment for a variety of illnesses and conditions. In addition, these adult stem cells appear stable and retain their principle characteristics, according to research thus far, suggesting that they could yield effective, long-term results.
What Benefits Do Maternal Stem Cells Have for Women’s Health?
It is believed that maternal placental stem cells have prospective benefits for individuals with diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and neurological disorders.
What Benefits Do Maternal Stem Cells Have for Baby’s Health?
In addition to benefits in the treatment of adult diseases and conditions, maternal placental stem cells appear to have a promising future in stem cell research with regard to infant and children’s health.
For example, these adult stem cells may be able to treat childhood diseases, such as juvenile diabetes, as well as genetic disorders.
While further research needs to be conducted regarding the collection, storage and use of maternal stem cells in order to treat disease, clinical research to date has suggested that these cells could play an integral role in stem cell disease prevention.